Zucchini ricotta fritters

After seeing lots of zucchini patty recipes and with the natural abundance of zucchini in the late summer, I felt it was time to try this dish. This particular fritter features ricotta cheese (which I’m still loving to make!) and developed by Mario Batali.

This is warm and crispy on the outside and creamy bursting with fresh flavor on the inside. It makes 20 small-to-medium fritters, and I found they cooked better when smaller rather than medium-to-large size. I might just half the recipe next time, but these are so good that they didn’t last long.

Zucchini fritters with eggplant fries and (to balance the fried foods) fruit.

Zucchini-Ricotta Fritters

Makes 20 fritters

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini, coarsely shredded
  • 2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 3 large scallions, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh sheep-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, garlic, scallions, ricotta, eggs, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir well, then stir in the flour just until incorporated.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of olive oil until shimmering. Working in batches, add 2-tablespoon mounds of the zucchini batter to the hot oil, spreading them to form 3-inch fritters. Fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes.
  3. Drain the fritters on the paper towels and serve right away, with lemon wedges.

Make ahead: The fritters can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours and recrisped in a 325° oven.

The original, sent by my brother when he went in July.

Although I generally try to have only one fried food at a time, I thought since I was frying and wanted to try eggplant fries, they would go good with the fritters. I tried baking a few and it did not work. I got kind of baked, floury eggplant. The frying worked well, and they turned out crispy and hot.

The recipe is from the Art Institute of Chicago, a place I want to check out. If you aren’t aware, the Art Institute is home of American Gothic, a famous painting by Grant Wood, who is from my hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And he painted huge murals depicting middle-American life in the library of my alma mater, Iowa State University.

So back to the eggplant fries. Now that I’ve made them and since I want to go to the Art Institute, I think it’s only fair I try their version soon!

Eggplant fries

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped kosher pickle or pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1-pound eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2 rounds, then into 1/2-thick strips
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons za’atar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt plus more for seasoning

Directions

  1. For the dipping sauce, whisk yogurt, chopped pickle, lemon zest, and oregano in a small bowl to blend. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Place eggplant in a large bowl. Add 2 cups ice and enough water to cover. Place a plate on top of eggplant to weigh it down. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.
  3. Pour oil into a large deep pot to a depth of 2″. Attach a deep-fry thermometer to the side of pot and heat oil over medium heat to 325°.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk rice flour, lemon zest, za’atar, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon sea salt in a medium bowl to blend. Drain eggplant. Working in batches, toss damp eggplant in flour mixture to coat.
  5. Working in batches, fry eggplant, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with lemon juice and sea salt. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

As you have seen, I love making fries out of any vegetable. And I have a few more vegetables in mind. What vegetable makes the best fry that you have had?

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